The Jagatsinghpur administration has issued show-cause notices to six primary schools and a high school over non-implementation of mid-day meal scheme.
After reviewing the scheme in the district, the officials found large-scale irregularities in its implementation. It was found that while the scheme has been running smoothly in 1,561 primary schools having 1.14 lakh students, six schools under Paradip Municipality have not yet implemented the noon meal scheme citing lack of infrastructure.
These are Bangalipada primary school in ward 18, Loknath Colony Project primary school, Lockpada primary school, Bangalipada primary school in ward 6, Balijhara Gholapada primary school, Noliashai project primary school and Banbihari high school under Kujang block. The primary schools do not have buildings of their own and are functioning from clubs, community centres and other public places. As a result, the noon meal scheme has not been started in any of these schools.
For instance, the Lokanath colony primary school functions from a club house. The club house also shelters an anganwadi centre, a mahila samiti and SHG office.
The school authorities said at times when the club house is crowded, classes are taken in open field.
Sources said although around Rs 4 lakh was provided to each school under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan for construction of buildings, work is yet to begin for want of land. In the absence of buildings, the school authorities are unable to prepare noon meals.
The problem at Banbihari high school is different. Here, the school management committee had decided not to cook noon meals as all the 350 students come from affluent families.
District Collector Satya Kumar Mallick said, “Whatever the reason, not providing mid-day meals to students is a violation of the Right to Education Act. Hence, we have asked District Education Officer Prasant Kumar Swain to serve show-cause notices to them.”
He said as 25 per cent of primary schools have no kitchens, steps are being taken to construct kitchens in these schools at a cost of Rs 60,000. Mallick said the mid-day meal desk has been opened at the Collector’s office to monitor proper implementation of the scheme across schools in Jagatsinghpur.
All cluster resource centre coordinators and block resource centre coordinators have been asked to make daily visits to schools to review preparation of mid-day meals and submit their reports to the desk.
The district administration has also directed all schools to prepare mid-day meals by 12.30 pm and get the food verified by a member of the school managing committee before it is served to the children.